New Godzilla film imagines a strong Japan pushing back against the U.S.

People look at Godzilla at an exhibition in Yokohama, a suburb of Tokyo, to promote the latest in a half-century of movies about the monster. (Toru Yamanaka/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

— Even after 62 years and 31 ways of destroying cities, it seems Japanese people still can’t get enough of Godzilla and his catastrophic ways.

“This is my fifth time to see it,” Iori Yanagi, a 30-something woman, said before a special screening of the latest Godzilla movie, released here as “New” or “Real” Godzilla.
Since it opened at the end of July, the film — directed by ­Hideaki Anno, the renowned ­creator of “Evangelion,” an anime TV series — has crashed through the box office like, well, like a monster through a metropolis. The film has sold almost 5 million tickets since it was released in Japan and has made $70 million at the box office, making it the ­highest-grossing live-action film here this year. It will be distributed in the United States starting next month as “Godzilla Resurgence.”

“I love Anno’s anime, especially ‘Evangelion,’ and I was moved to see how he created this Godzilla movie,” said Yanagi, who recently attended an “utterance allowed” screening of the film, during which members of the audience were allowed to make as much noise as they wanted.

“Be careful!” they yelled as the monster raged toward the Japanese capital. “Prime minister, prime minister!” they shouted as the leader convened emergency meetings of bureaucrats to deal with the threat. And, perhaps in a uniquely Japanese moment (after all, this is a country where fax machines are still in widespread use), they cheered as a convoy of photocopiers was wheeled into a task-force center.
Yanagi was wearing strings of toy train cars around her neck and carrying a bottle of water, props to wave at the appropriate moment. Her friend was dressed as the lunch lady who appears for perhaps five seconds, bringing rice balls to the civil servants working around-the-clock.

Elsewhere in the movie house, people wore homemade Godzilla heads and waved signs, while four men caused an eruption when they showed up in hazardous-waste coveralls and gas masks. Everyone waved glow-sticks as if at a rock concert.

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